Tag: Pollution

Helping the cause of environmental resilience

Haruko Wainwright, the Norman C. Rasmussen Career Development Professor in Nuclear Science and Engineering (NSE) and assistant professor in civil and environmental engineering at MIT, grew up in rural Japan, where many nuclear facilities are located. She remembers worrying about the facilities as a child. Wainwright was only 6 at the time of the Chernobyl […]

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Toxic Chemical Rules Pose Test for Biden

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration is preparing to impose some of the first new rules in a generation to restrict or ban an array of toxic chemicals that are widely used in manufacturing, presenting the White House with tough choices between its economic agenda and public health. Many of the substances in question are important […]

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Low-cost device can measure air pollution anywhere

Air pollution is a major public health problem: The World Health Organization has estimated that it leads to over 4 million premature deaths worldwide annually. Still, it is not always extensively measured. But now an MIT research team is rolling out an open-source version of a low-cost, mobile pollution detector that could enable people to […]

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Industry Knew About Gas Stoves’ Air Pollution Problems in Early 1970s

At the end of December 2022, when Americans were getting ready to spend hours indoors with family and friends — often in their kitchens, preparing holiday meals on the stovetop — a new study reignited a decades-old debate. The peer-reviewed research by the environmental think tank RMI (formerly Rocky Mountain Institute), the University of Sydney, and the […]

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Climate Change Threatens Everyone’s Health

Climate change is altering our bodies and changing our lives every day. But as with all public health crises, the health impacts of climate change are not evenly felt. Those who already suffer the brunt of systemic inequalities are also those who face the most severe consequences of climate change. One of the most serious […]

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Clean Energy Is Suddenly Less Polarizing Than You Think

This is not just the doing of the I.R.A. To a degree hardly anyone but wonks really appreciates, green energy in the United States was a heavily red-state phenomenon before the legislation even hit Mr. Biden’s desk in August. Already, Texas produces more renewable energy than anywhere else in the country — in fact, almost […]

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Study: Smoke particles from wildfires can erode the ozone layer

A wildfire can pump smoke up into the stratosphere, where the particles drift for over a year. A new MIT study has found that while suspended there, these particles can trigger chemical reactions that erode the protective ozone layer shielding the Earth from the sun’s damaging ultraviolet radiation. The study, which appears today in Nature, […]

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Senator Whitehouse Puts Climate Change on Budget Committee’s Agenda

WASHINGTON — Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrat of Rhode Island, has given 286 speeches on the Senate floor raising alarms about climate change, often delivered mainly to the C-SPAN cameras in a nearly empty chamber. But now Mr. Whitehouse has a much bigger megaphone for his zeal for saving the planet, and one with real power: […]

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‘What Is This Thing?’: How a Jurassic-Era Insect Was Rediscovered

It took the Covid-19 pandemic and a class held on Zoom for the entomologist to give a long-forgotten insect specimen another look. With the world in lockdown in the fall of 2020, Michael Skvarla, an assistant research professor at Penn State University, turned to his private collection, the two cabinets full of insects he kept […]

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East Palestine Isn’t Suffering From One Disaster. It’s Suffering From Many.

I read it like a sort of family tree drawn in waterways: all of us, (and our pets, wildlife, and livestock) who deserve fresh, clean water, not the devastation of environmental disaster.  At the center of these maps are the people who never left. Further out lie the many children of Northeast Ohio’s exodus, the […]

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Improving health outcomes by targeting climate and air pollution simultaneously

Climate policies are typically designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that result from human activities and drive climate change. The largest source of these emissions is the combustion of fossil fuels, which increases atmospheric concentrations of ozone, fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and other air pollutants that pose public health risks. While climate policies may result […]

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Study: Carbon-neutral pavements are possible by 2050, but rapid policy and industry action are needed

Almost 2.8 million lane-miles, or about 4.6 million lane-kilometers, of the United States are paved. Roads and streets form the backbone of our built environment. They take us to work or school, take goods to their destinations, and much more. However, a new study by MIT Concrete Sustainability Hub (CSHub) researchers shows that the annual […]

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A more sustainable way to generate phosphorus

Phosphorus is an essential ingredient in thousands of products, including herbicides, lithium-ion batteries, and even soft drinks. Most of this phosphorus comes from an energy-intensive process that contributes significantly to global carbon emissions. In an effort to reduce that carbon footprint, MIT chemists have devised an alternative way to generate white phosphorus, a critical intermediate […]

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The Global Health Benefits of Going Net Zero

Fossil fuel combustion produces greenhouse gases that heat the planet, but it also emits air pollutants that harm human health. Fine particulate matter and ozone, for example, have been linked to fatal lung and heart issues. And a recent study published in GeoHealth adds to the growing body of research that shows that when countries reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, […]

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Rescuing small plastics from the waste stream

As plastic pollution continues to mount, with growing risks to ecosystems and wildlife, manufacturers are beginning to make ambitious commitments to keep new plastics out of the environment. A growing number have signed onto the U.S. Plastics Pact, which pledges to make 100 percent of plastic packaging reusable, recyclable, or compostable, and to see 50 […]

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Chess players face a tough foe: air pollution

Here’s something else chess players need to keep in check: air pollution. That’s the bottom line of a newly published study co-authored by an MIT researcher, showing that chess players perform objectively worse and make more suboptimal moves, as measured by a computerized analysis of their games, when there is more fine particulate matter in […]

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Cleaning Up 80 Years of Plastic Waste

“There’s a reason why you don’t see paper and glass or metal polluting our streets, it’s because the market has assigned a value to that material. So certain sectors within a community will collect it and divert it away from nature and into the circular economy. We need to do that for plastic,” said Plastic […]

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